September 12, 2009
“Hey you! Anil, right? I will break your bones and throw you out of the window now”. I was not the last bencher in school, and none of my lovely teachers dared to talk to me like that. I was one of the favourites. But things began to change in college and were totally different during engineering. Actually lecturers began throwing me out of the class (not through the window though) though none of them broke my bones.
Anyways, what I am trying to do with this article is to draw your attention to bones and especially the hazards of broken bones. The title is in Latin and means “My Experiences with Broken Bones”. Thanks to Google translator!
According to our favourite goon of all time Mr Munna Bhai, MBBS, there are 206 bones in an adult human body and if even one of them breaks or gets dislocated, our system will be out of order for a minimum of 28 days with the maximum being the rest of our life. Well, when Munna Bhai knows so much about bones, why not me?
It seems babies are born with 350 soft bones, but many of these fuse together as the baby grows and finally only 206 remain. Together, the bones weigh around 9 kg. The smallest bone found in the middle ear is just 25 mm long and the biggest, the femur, represents 25 percent of the body’s height. The skull is, in fact, a combination of 29 different bones.
Enough of Google, Wikipedia, and Time-Life’s Illustrated World of Science books! Now let me get into broken bones, my so-called expertise. I don’t have any degree in dealing with bones. I am not an orthopeadician (though once upon a time, I aspired to be one) and have had only one fracture till date. I know many people who have made it a habit of wearing casts every alternative month, but one broken bone or many, a broken bone is a broken bone. I hope you all agree.
For 24 years of my life, I was proud of saying that I have lived my life without a single fracture. But everything changed on 29th May, 2009. How can I forget the day I broke the teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy, bone of my left leg? I had a broken Fifth Metatarsal, a small bone.
No matter how small the bone is, the pain caused is tremendous. I will narrate shamelessly, how I managed to break my bone—I was driving to Honnavar to attend my cousin’s wedding and as usual had big plans of burning the dance floor with my ‘Pakka Gaanvti’ moves. I was hoping to get a look from at least three Goan girls. My cousin had earlier informed me that the beat group was from Goa. But God had other plans.
Instead of impressing everyone with my quick moves, I impressed everyone with my slow moves i.e. I entered the hall with two of my cousins acting as walking sticks. I was given two chairs, one to lower my bottom on and one more to accommodate my swollen leg. Oh, wait! I forgot to narrate how it happened. On the way to Honnavar, near Bhatkal, there is an excellent shop which sells Basmati rice and mummy wanted to buy some. We stopped, and I went into the open space to do what every man does when a car is stopped. On my way back to the car, I jumped over a small rock and landed in an awkward position with a twisted leg. That was when I thought, “Did I break anything?”
This took place on a Sunday and I did not bother to go to the doctor thinking it was a sprain and would be all right, just like the way it had healed twice previously. But the next day, I could not bear the pain, went to the hospital, had my leg photographed, and bingo, my guess was right. I finally had a fracture. The doctor wrapped my leg with a modern fiber-glass cast and said no more walking for a month.
Getting accustomed to the cast was a Herculean task, initially. My major concern was bathing. With my fractured leg over a stool, wrapped in a garbage bag—you can imagine the pains I underwent when I tried to clean myself. I took utmost care so that no water seeped into the cast. Thanks to the deodorants and perfumes, I smelled pleasant at least. The other concern was walking .For a guy like me, who has a insect in his rear, I think I managed considerably well, avoiding all not-so-important places like church, office, etc. I can recall at least three weddings I attended with a blue cast!
Enough of pain. Now, let me tell you the gains of a fracture. At the function, I received more attention than the bride and the groom. All aunts, uncles, relatives, friends, and the groom’s relatives were concerned. Even the stars of the day came to me, to seek my blessings. At home, I was the king with dad and mom acting as my courtiers. Every meal for one month was served in the drawing room in front of the TV. Every evening, there were visitors to have a look at my Metatarsal. I guess even the great Ronaldo, after his knee operation, did not have as many visitors as I had.
I had a month-long break from work. What more can a person ask for? No mass on Sundays initially for around three weeks. In the fourth week, when I went, the nun came to me with ‘Son of God’ in her hand. What a wonderful gesture! Whenever I felt like going out, I had a chauffeur-driven Zen at my disposal, with my cousin at the wheels. I really thought to myself “Oh boy, this is it. I know what I missed for the past 24 years”.
Broken bones give one both suffering and a lot of happiness, but are these worth it? I say ‘no’. A small child may be able to recover fully from a fracture, but the same cannot be said in the case of an adult.Of course no one can prevent a mishap from happening, but we can do some things which are in our control. Proper calcium intake, bone strengthening excercises, normal exercises to make us more agile, and yes, in my case, a little less hyperactivity (not my fault, it’s the insect!) can strengthen our bones considerably. Women should be a bit more careful after they turn 40. It seems their bones grow weak and they will risk getting osteoporosis.
Well, hope I have been able to tickle your funny bone a little with this article, but it is really not funny to tickle a broken bone. Don’t try it; you will end up nursing a few broken bones yourself. There is a saying in Latin “A wheel not greased will creak”; it’s the same with bones. So take proper care of your bones and lead a very strong life.
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